If you wonder how to save your marriage from the brink of divorce, you’re on the right path already. Just wanting to do something about it is a part of the work done. Although it is true that half of the marriages end up in a divorce, you don’t have to be on the losing side. Not all unhappy and dysfunctional marriages end up like that. There are many examples from a psychotherapist’s practice where a couple was just about to split up for good when they found their ways back to the joy of a shared life and future. So, how to save yours, you might be wondering? Here are four steps to save a marriage on the brink of divorce that are based on therapeutic techniques used by psychologists.
Step 1- Take a step (or ten) back
When we find ourselves on the brink of divorce, we are probably so caught up in the whirlpool of emotions and resentment, that we just can’t see things clearly. With that comes a new avalanche of blame, arguments, stonewalling, and confusion. And, simply put, you can’t solve anything from within the eye of a tornado.
Which is why it’s essential to step back and take a deep breath. Get off of the speeding train, and regain your clarity. Then, analyze the problem(s). And do so objectively. Yes, we know it’s tempting to blame it all on your spouse. But, if you do want to save a marriage on the brink of divorce, you will need to take a look at your issues from a third person’s perspective.
What happened? When and where did it go wrong? What was your contribution to the problem? When was the perfect situation to fix it, one that you missed? How did the problems get so significant? Was it something from the outside, or was it your own doing? When did you stop trying? And why do you want to save the marriage? All of these are the questions that you would hear from a therapist and are essential to understanding both the problem and the path towards solving it.
Step 2- Walk a mile in your spouse’s shoes
It might not be something that you’re really eager to do, but you do need to understand your spouse’s perspective and feelings. Yes, you probably feel that you’re the victim. But, when there are two individuals in a relationship, that means that there are at least two perspectives on things. If you want to rescue the marriage, you have to understand the other side.
Moreover, if it is your spouse who wants the divorce (more), you should also accept this. It won’t help to be in a denial. And once you’ve come to peace with this fact, it is crucial to get to the roots of how they came to such a decision. So, you should also validate your partner’s emotions and perception of your marriage.
Once you accept that you’re both entitled to your own reactions, you should also take responsibility for your part in the problem. Regardless of the amount of perceived hurt that your spouse might have caused you, rest assured that they have a rationale behind their actions. And. if you want to save your marriage, you need to fully accept their perspective, no matter how difficult it might be for you.
Step 3- Retreat gracefully
Once the previous steps were followed, you will find yourself in a position where it is advisable to take some time alone. Whether it is a physical retreat (say, a holiday on your own), or mere seclusion in which you will be spending a lot of time in silent contemplation, you should step away from the arguments, as well as endless conversations about possible solutions, and regain focus. Determine what it is that you want from your future.
This applies even more in situations where one partner is strongly for a divorce, while the other is terrified from that option. You should give your partner space, and take some for yourself as well. Any sort of needy behavior will inevitably only cause more problems. The maximum you can expect from being clingy is to prolong the anguish, but nothing will be solved. So, instead, retreat with grace for a while.
Step 4- Make new ground rules and start all over again
The final step is to get back together, sit down, and make a new set of ground rules for the new relationship. Whatever these may be. Be entirely honest and direct. No blaming, just assertiveness. Because this is probably your last chance to make things right. So, don’t miss it. Don’t settle for being maltreated. And don’t push for irrational demands. You have a new chance for a fresh start. After this, go on a date together, the first date of your new marriage!
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.